Where I Was (July 2022)

(*I’m editing this in October 2022. I am in a different place now. Different conclusions. I am tempted to delete what I no longer fully feel. But I believe it is important to document my journey step by step. There are no right and wrong parts, only parts, to whatever journey this is I am on. *)

(Written: July 2022)

Counseling

Still talk therapy. But progress. The final strings are being cut. Another counsellor is telling me my Dad has narcissistic traits. I resist, but it’s sinking in. It’s all sinking in. But as it does, I see a rising of another sun. I am forming my own family now. I am blessed, and hopeful my family can be full of love.

The Car Battery Challenge

Our car battery died in our garage this month. It is our only car. At first I felt panic – if we don’t rely on my parents anymore we have to start from scratch socially. My husband’s family is hours away, and are rarely in touch with us. Many members of my extended family live close by, but I’ve never formed close relationships with any of them.

After going through all our options, we decided to make an online post to our neighbors to see if anyone could jump us. It felt like a last resort. Immediately we had a response from one couple. By the time I got outside, to help my husband roll the car out of the garage, another 2 neighbors were heading over with battery chargers and jumpers in hand! They all seemed so eager to help, even people we’d never met. It was so joyfully done. I was overwhelmed. This was not the WORLD I was raised in, or taught to believe in. It felt like a message from God – kindness is all around me. He is all around me.

A Neighbor Struggles

This summer I have grown close to one of the other moms on my street. She stays home with her young children as I do, so we have hung out a lot this summer. We always have our children with us when we spend time together, so that limits our conversations, but still; I have developed a real fondness for her as a person. She has a very sweet heart.

While our kids were at sports practice together, in a private moment, she shared struggling as a stay at home mom. She was feeling overwhelmed. She said her husband didn’t understand her feelings of overwhelm, and moreover was frustrated by them. She sounded like she needed help with the kids and around the house, and her husband was saying he wasn’t able to. It was her job. She also shared that she has struggled with anxiety, especially social anxiety, her whole life. And that the recent move (she just moved in a few months before) has brought up a lot of anxiety in her.

I felt so much for her! I barely have it together most days with my 2 children, and my husband helps me constantly. My husband also is fully in touch with how much work being a stay at home mom is, and he has a listening ear and supportive words for me when I am struggling. I can’t imagine doing this alone, and feeling judged for struggling!

I tried to support her with my words. I let her know, that I heard her overwhelm and that I was not judging at all. I shared how I too found being a stay at home mom a near impossible job, and that my husband was helping a lot when he wasn’t working. I supported her feelings that she needed more help around the house. I told her that if she ever needed a few hours off to swing her kids by my house and she can leave. Our kids play together almost everyday anyway. I wanted to help. As I left practice that evening, I felt a heaviness from our conversation. I definitely felt she was in a dark spot. I shared the conversation with my husband that evening.

The next afternoon the situation escalated, and it was obvious her family was having major struggles.

I felt guilty, I knew she had been upset but did not know how serious it had been. Another of her close friends was angry with her and her husband. They didn’t like the stress and drama they had brought to our street and they told them. That family pulled back from my friend and her family. They didn’t feel comfortable with them anymore.

I was shocked, all I felt was concern for her obviously, and her whole family. I reached out through text the day of and over the week. I shared with her my own struggles with depression and moving. I shared that my family was here for her and hers. I asked her if she wanted to talk. She said she would really like that, and would call me the next day. No call. When I checked in a few days later, we again arranged to go for a walk to talk later that week. She text me day of and cancelled.

At that point, I gave her space. And I sunk into a state of doubt. I started feeling like my love and support of others is simply a burden. (Old issues deep within me were being triggered by this event).

Then the day of the sport’s practice rolled around. Our daughters are on the same team, so I knew I would see her there. That day she came and sat next to me like normal. But she seemed distant. After a few minutes she got up to take a phone call, and then came back over and said it was crowded where we were sitting so she was going to sit farther down.

At this point, I was hurt. It had seemed clear to me before that she didn’t want to speak to me about what had happened, which I totally understood even if it hurt my feelings. But now it felt like she didn’t even want to be around me anymore. And when people hurt me, I run from the relationship. I could feel that slide into running.

I sat there for about 10 minutes. My mind was ricocheting with the thoughts and feelings of so many sides of me. Finally one side started to build momentum within me “approach with love.”

I got up and went and sat next to her in the less crowded area. When I sat down she immeditaely put her hand on my knee and said “Oh, bless you for coming over here. This crowded room is giving me such anxiety.” We had a good conversation, and I expressed my complete love for her and her family no matter what “others” were saying. When the time came to leave I reached over and gave her a hug. This seems natural I imagine, but that is the first time in my life I have done so in such a moment. The whole conversation and hug felt so awkward to me, I felt stupid and bumbling. But I knew what I was trying to express, and I knew that was more important than anything else. Love and support for someone who was going through a challenging time in life. A time when some were turning away.

In some ways, it feels like another sign from God. Him showing me – I can be there for others. That (unlike what my inner critic says) others actions are rarely about me – they are about the other person’s own fears. In this case, she wasn’t avoiding me. She was going through a lot in her life. She was afraid to have the conversation. She was afraid of being judged. She was experiencing intense anxiety.

Still I resist

Still I resist it, I fear my love, fear it’s a burden. I get in the way, best to seclude myself in the comfort of isolation (my norm). But no my heart so longs for human connection, for a human difference. It knows the feel of years and years of loneliness, the suffering that lies in that.

I falter in this all because I fear. And so quick those fears old fears all come back up. Social rejection cuts me deep. I see that now. It shifts me on to whole different tracks. That tracks of no one loves me, and my love means nothing to anyone. Everyone is just “putting up with me, pitying me”.

When I feel so unloved, and old more narcissistic coping side of me comes out. And I judge others, as I push them away. But those old narcissistic coping styles aren’t able to last as long now, as I feel I am growing beyond them. I see them as harmful and damaging more quickly now. It’s a good thing those old defenses are falling away. But still I struggle and new coping mechanisms come up to try to help calm me – but often the new coping mechanisms aren’t healthy or helpful either.

But I am having moments where I see progress in my learning the art of loving. Something as simple as a hug to my friend as I said goodbye to her – I feel so silly to feel so proud of it. But it is the first time in my life I have ever let that urge express itself. I have felt the urge to hug a friend going through a struggle or even simply saying goodbye before, but my feelings of uncomfortableness or fear have always won out. I see, I am bumbling, but I am trying to express my love of others.

You Have Forgotten Who You Are

You have forgotten who you are.
But I haven’t. 
Some part of God
Lost to love.

But your heart beats,
Listen!
It will guide you back, 
You say to “death!” 
And I agree
As all paths lead
Certainly to destiny.

But if we hold to love,
Through the darkest paths of fear.
We may find a death
With breathe

Our immortality

(August 2021)

Where I Was Last Month (May) And This Week (6-24-21)

(Written in May)

Beginning to Process A Heavy Mood

I am currently processing and being with one of my heaviest moods. This emotional state I get into seems to be one of the most disconnected from my more unified sense of self. Coping skills that work brilliantly for other moods, seem to make this mood worse. There is a distrusting, aggressive, and mocking attitude it seems to possess towards what feels like “me”.

It feels like this mood descends on me quite frequently, and probably has most of my life. The mood has a teenage feel to it, and I suspect it was during my teenage years when I first started experiencing this mood. I probably lived more of life in this mood in the past. However I may have been unable to see it as clearly as I do now, since I did not have as much joy and peace to compare it too. It is the intense reappearance and struggle with this mood that led me to attend counseling again.

I don’t understand what sets it off yet. But it comes on suddenly and it feels heavy and empty. In that emotional mood I feel nothing towards people who I know I love. And that upsets me and angers me. But the mood doesn’t care, doesn’t care about anything or anyone. And definitely doesn’t care what “I” think about it. Seems to hate me. Thinks I destroyed my life. And that there is no chance of any good outcomes. It tends to urge me to seek comfort in “nature”, who “won’t judge me/who loves me”. It has self-destructive urges, that disturb and frighten me. I try to encourage it, mention how many people wound be there to help it. It has a very mocking attitude. States they will help me for a day, and then be gone. I just feel so emptied out in this mood. Only grief and guilt about the past, and hopelessness and indifference towards the future.

I am trying to be patient with this emotion. And accept it as it is, even in its mocking and anger.

The only thing so far that does seem somewhat promising with the emotion is simply to gently tell it/remind it “It’s okay, you are okay, those you love are okay. It’s okay to feel this way. You are safe. Those you love are safe. It’s okay. You’re okay.” I felt a lifting in that, and it seemed to offer me a simple path forward to show kindness and support for myself. After softly whispering that out loud over and over, I felt the desire to have a cup of tea. I felt a lifting in all that, a being present, being less overwhelmed.

I don’t know what this mood is. And I don’t know why is descends on me. But I would like to address it, process it, hear it, and help it.

A Second Stage In Processing

(I believe this comment I left to a friend on WordPress in the thick of processing the heavy mood captures a shifting in my perspective towards the mood.)

(Written in May)

“I am in such an intense place recently. Really struggling with so many overwhelming emotions. I’m feeling it physically and mentally more than I’m used to. Struggling to function. But I’m hanging in there and reminding myself this is likely part of a loving freeing, finding, listening to, and being with my true self. She’s held so much in for so long, so much suppression.But as those inner forces that have been holding the real me down are lowered, I connect more and more with her in a deeper way and unlike in the past I’m not going to criticize or push her away now. Even if the left over of my old inner system of suppression rises up, to it believes protect me, I feel I know a better way now. It’s all okay. I’m okay. Even though I fear how I feel at moments in this anxiety, grief, guilt, helplessness, emptiness, and brain fog. It feels like I’m cycling quickly through intensity and numbness.

But I will not abandon her. Because I see more clearly now, who I really am, the natural intuitive sensitive me, is kind, smart, good, and loving. I or no one else has anything to fear from her. All she wants is to live as herself. And I believe that is what is best for her and everyone else. I am worthy to live my life as myself, we all are.”

A Third Stage in Processing

(Written In June)

I am still in a haze of sorts trying to stay with and work through this complex mood. I have come to suspect my Inner Critic is very much active within me against this mood. And I am realizing my frustration and impatience towards this mood isn’t helpful by any measures. It is a case of me giving myself, what I am used to receiving from my family of origin. But I believe I have come to know better than that now. I believe what is best for me and everyone around me is for me to listen to this mood and understand what it is trying to communicate to me.

I notice when I tried to take a more loving and calm stance with this mood, accepting it as how I am feeling and being gentle with myself and my “lack of functioning” right now, I felt a release of sorts. It seemed much of the intense feelings of self-hate, weakness, feeling life was unbearable, wasn’t actually coming from the mood itself it was coming from my Inner Critic’s judgment and view of the mood.

The inner critic side of me wants to see emotional strength and productivity in my day to day life. If I struggle emotionally or with my day to day tasks, it declares I am “pathetic” and “weak”. It seems I naturally believe those verdicts, and then fall further and further into a negative state. Or maybe it’s not so much I believe these judgements of the Inner Critic, but more I am torn down by them. To be vulnerable to one’s self, and be met with harsh judgements, does nothing to help build an understanding and work through a difficult emotion or establish peace and contentment within.

There is a sense even the “self destructive” thoughts that so disturb and upset me in this mood, are actually more coming from the Inner Critic’s frustration and hate towards the mood as opposed to the mood itself. It’s more like hearing “YOU have nothing to offer anyone, something is wrong with YOU” from someone you love as opposed to actually feeling that way yourself. It’s complex, but it was a relief to realize that it wasn’t so much life I can feel the urge to escape as much as this harsh inner voice that seems to value “me” only in terms of my ” functioning”, “productivity”, and “strength” and when I falter goes on a tirade against “me”.

Maybe at some point, this style of inner self talk was deemed necessary by my mind, but it feels wholly destructive to me and ironically destructive to my smooth functioning in life. I want peace from that voice, I need peace from that voice.

When I try to reflect on what the heavy mood itself is feeling before all the inner critic’s judgements and labels rise up, it is probably something like immense helplessness, loneliness, hopelessness and grief. If I imagine any other human feeling this way, I would not be proud treating them how my inner critic treats me. Who yells and demands productivity and displays of emotional strength to a human heart that is hurting. First one must listen, and I believe if I listen well and patiently, I will come to understand this mood. And somewhat naturally I will find myself showing her love, and with that healing and release for this part of me to shift her energy into a new direction in life. But first she must be heard, she knows something, and I need to hear it.

I Love Humans

I love humans
But how could that be
For not all humans love me

But look at them 
One foot an animal's 
One foot God's dream

Their words, their actions
There's no plot
One voice speaking over itself

But observe deeper
And I believe you'll see
Something crying out 
from invisibility

Look in their eyes
Listen to their voices 
Feel and recognize
It's you that's hiding

May 2021

Complete Love

Being before complete love
We have no fear
For to love completely
Is to know we are completely loved 
Safe
Secure 
Eternally

And we will turn
And reveal 
All
Before all
And find only...

We have no fear 
For to love completely 
Is to know you are completely loved
Safe 
Secure
Eternally 
You 

(May 2021)

Inspiration:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

“We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19)

Fred Rogers – “Sometimes People Are Good”

Lyrics:

“Sometimes people are good
And they do just what they should.
But the very same people who are good sometimes
Are the very same people who are bad sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…

Sometimes people get wet.
And their parents get upset.
But the very same people who get wet sometimes
Are the very same people who are dry sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…

Sometimes people make noise
And they break another’s toys.
But the very same people who are noisy sometimes
Are the very same people who are quiet sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me and…

Sometimes people are good
And they do just what they should.
But the very same people who are good sometimes
Are the very same people who are bad sometimes.
It’s funny, but it’s true.
It’s the same, isn’t it for me…
Isn’t it the same for you?”

The loving, gentle, true, and beautiful, perspective Fred Rogers shares in this song couldn’t be simpler, but it’s been so easily missed or forgotten by me . I find it is a perspective that encourages kindness, mercy and loyal love towards others and myself.

Where I Am This Week (4-26-21)

Stepping Into My Own Reality

I am starting to step into my own reality. I am starting to trust my instincts and my feelings. I am starting to show up for myself with understanding, kindness, and support. I am feeling an increased sense of freedom and joy in life.

I believe all the steps before brought me to this place, but most recently what helped lift me to this more peaceful perspective was the support of my therapist and the kindness of my friends here on WordPress. With such support I feel I was able to take a huge step forward in my journey, and that was to consciously, within my mind, say goodbye to and stop chasing after closeness with my parents. I say within my mind because I didn’t actually say anything to my parents. It was more a process of letting my dreams for our relationship go in my mind, accepting and grieving what has been and is our relationship, and turning to focus on finding a closeness with my own self instead.

I Have Everything I Need

I found myself reflecting this week on my life and thinking, “I have everything I need, now I just have to figure out how to enjoy it”. I feel incredibly blessed and excited for the future. I feel a growing sense of being capable of handling whatever comes next. I feel a self confidence I have never felt before. A general feeling of “I am fine”.

This new found feeling of being “okay” strikes me as so odd. I have spent so much time trying to convince my parents that “I am not fine” or that our relationship is “not fine”. Yet by withdrawing from that battle for their validation, I am actually starting to finally feel I am “fine”. I feel I am starting to accept our relationship for what it is, lacking the honesty, affection, and closeness I’d like, but accepting I have done my part and now it is up to them. I am good as I am, I can have a beautiful life as things are, even if they never validate or believe my perspective and where I am. Their trying to listen and understand my perspective is crucial for our relationship to grow and deepen, but it is not crucial for me to be a good mother, or wife, or person, or for me to have a good life. I am starting to not only believe, but also to truly feel this. What a relief! And what excitement!

Easing Of Sadness and Anger

And with this growing feeling I feel hints of an easing of my anger and sadness. Could those emotions have been yearning to be witnessed and accepted by me. Picked up by me, and cared for. Were they fighting to get me to see my truth, I used to think that I needed others/my parents to see my truth. But maybe me seeing my truth and believing my truth was all I needed. Now that I am starting to listen closer to and understand my emotions better, it feels like they can ease. There is less need for my sadness and anger to rise to extremes just to be acknowledged by me, I am starting to get better at perceiving my emotions gentle nudges. They are my guides to alert me to ways I do not enjoy being treated and may need to establish boundaries, and also are my guides to alert me to ways I do not wish to treat those I love. I do not want them to feel what I have felt.

Being More Present

I found myself more present this week with my children. More natural. I let my instincts guide me, I didn’t overthink each word and each action, I didn’t judge myself against all the perfect other things I could have done, merely noting different opportunities in the future. And through these more calm and gentle eyes I noticed my kids seem to love me dearly. And in the atmosphere of lightness and presence I found myself having more silly fun with the kids, really joining their world where the moment is all that exists. That moment of making a big dino pile with dino music blaring or checking out the new buds and flowers in our yard or them hanging onto my back and pretending to be baby monkeys. I laughed more freely. I loved it and they loved it too.

As silly as I’ve been I also noticed a silence from me I am not used to. A comfortableness with silent presence. I feel as if I tend to chatter a lot, out of a sort of nervous energy. I feel I need to be doing something or my mind is running fast. In the newer moments of quiet this week I took in a lot of peace and contentment in the simple things I don’t tend to notice. Such as the quiet togetherness of helping my kids pick out their clothes and get dressed in the morning. There is so much already in that moment without words.

I also found grounding myself helpful. Literally saying in my mind, “I am at the park with the kids. It’s the afternoon.” My mind tends to wander and worry and I catch it planning everything in advance. It tends to have a lot of nervous energy. I found this week, even though I tried to keep my mind in the present moment, the “future moments” worked out to. I just figured them out when I got there. I didn’t need to plan every hour out in the morning. With focusing on where I am, I can notice beauty in my surroundings or even just the peace I feel in the present. The feeling of safety.

Points On A Journey

I know this journey has ups and downs. I am probably currently at some peak after a big realization, and I will crash again before the next step forward. But more and more I feel I am carrying forward with an understanding and new strength in this journey. I am starting to feel I am okay. I am starting to see how many loving people there are in this world and rest in feeling that kindness and goodness can be found in simple ways all around me. I am starting to feel embraced by the eternal hands of God, which have been with me all along and which always will be.

I am starting to place my sense of peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I may encounter. For I well know, from my own past feelings, thoughts and actions, how trapped in a delusion an individual can become. How fearful of truth, how distant from the truth, how cut off from their own nature, how judgemental and fragily prideful one can become. We all benefit when those confused and hurting voices are seen for what they are – lost, confused, and hurting – as opposed to voices of intentional evil or harm. As I practice finding my peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I meet, I hope to find the stability, faith, love, inner peace, and strength to remain in my own perspective no matter how I am seen by someone else in the moment.